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Why Bother?

Why do you make New Year's resolutions? There is a great chance that you will not meet your goals. Studies show that about 50% of people who make resolutions discard them by June and only 12% achieve them.

Why bother?
If you can answer this loaded question in a single sentence, perhaps you should not bother. Just because you would like to see an improvement, does not mean you are ready for the change necessary to make that happen. That doesn't make you a bad person or the goal bad, it just might not be the right time. The reason behind each resolution much be bigger than any obstacle you might face in order for it to consistently rise to the top of your priorities.

I recently read "The Power to Reinvent Yourself" and the first chapter is dedicated to understanding your 'why?' The author contends that you will only change when your 'why' gets bigger than your circumstances, limitations, excuses, etc. So, it doesn't really matter about the how or when until you know why. For instance, he speaks of three generations of women who each grew up in abusive households and vowed 'I will never do x or y to my kids' but then ended up being abusive themselves for different reasons.The cycle didn't break until the loneliness of the author's mom became her 'why'.

How do you know if you or your team knows your 'why'?

Clues can be found in old documents listing goals or action items. Yesterday I shared a document from an organization I was a part of in 2003 and 2004 listing its goals and 'action plan'. The person whom I shared this information with laughed about ten seconds before telling me that the goals were almost identical to the 2011 goals. The only difference was the rewording and layout of the page and the people signing the document. It is probable that this group has not discovered its 'why' to motivate these goals into a true action plan.
As you assess whether or not you are stuck in the logistics end of making goals, ask yourself these questions:
Have you ever had a staff meeting at work where you brainstorm and set goals around an issue only to get back to your desk and find a thread of emails or documents on the server that clearly show this process, at this stage, has already been done before?
Have you ever spent time writing out your New Year's Resolutions only to look back and see half of the list was on your list in a previous year?
Have you celebrated the loss of the same 15 pounds more than three times?

If you checked any one of these items, or could check a similar item, it might be time to pull out a pen and pad and rediscover your why. Once you rediscover your why, make sure and keep it visible so you won't forget.

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